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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Stephanie Kaufenberg  (651) 201-7566
September 07, 2012
August Deadliest Month for Riders As State Hits 40 Deaths for Year
Motorists and Riders Encouraged to Exercise Safe Driving Behaviors

​ST. PAUL — The number of preliminary Minnesota motorcyclist fatalities hits 40 following the deadliest month of the year. August had 11 rider deaths, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) preliminary reports. This time in 2011 there were 29 rider deaths. 

May and July follow August for the deadliest rider months — each had seven rider fatalities.

Motorcyclist fatalities are 17 percent of the total 238 traffic fatalities this year. Of the state’s 368 traffic fatalities in 2011, 42 were riders, which accounted for 11 percent of Minnesota’s total traffic deaths.

MMSC Program Coordinator, Bill Shaffer, encourages motorists to share the road and look twice for motorcycles in traffic as the autumn riding season can be just as deadly.

“Riders must shoulder responsibility for protecting themselves. Ride sober, keep your speed in check, and make yourself visible to drivers,” says Shaffer. He also emphasizes the need for riders to get training.

The cost of fuel is one of the reasons more people are choosing to ride motorcycles. Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with nearly 230,000 registered motorcycles and more than 404,000 licensed operators.

DPS offers these safety tips for motorists and riders to ensure a safe riding environment:

  • Motorists are advised to watch for motorcycles, and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.
  • Riders are advised to wear protective gear, pay attention and ride sober. DPS advises that riders take safety training courses. More information can be found at
  • Travel at safe speeds and stay focused on driving. Speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle crashes.
About the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center

The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) provides high-quality rider education, training and licensing to prevent motorcycle crashes and the resulting fatalities and injuries.

The MMSC provides on-cycle and classroom rider training courses; media relations, events, campaign and informational materials; and third-party skills testing for motorcycle license endorsement through the Basic Rider Course and evening motorcycle testing project at select DVS Exam Stations.

The MMSC was created from a state statute to address record high motorcyclist fatalities in the early 1980s. The law also created a state dedicated Motorcycle Safety Fund, which comes directly from Minnesota motorcyclists through a portion of motorcycle endorsement fees.

Motorcycle safety is a component of Toward Zero Deaths (TZD), the state’s primary road safety initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.

Recent MMSC Activity
  • Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with over 230,000 registered motorcycles and almost 400,000 licensed operators.
  • 2011 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts reports 42 rider deaths, down from a 24-year high of 72 in 2008.
  • MMSC and the SMARTrainer had a presence at 15 motorcycle organization events and shows from March 2012 to August 2012.
  • MMSC attended the Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators Annual Business Conference in Nashville from Aug. 24 to Aug. 26.
    Find MMSC on Twitter: @MnDPS_MCSafety.  


445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 |